Environmental Leaders Meet in Charlottesville for Final 2011 Virginia Natural Resources Leadership Institute Session

May 27, 2011 — The Virginia Natural Resources Leadership Institute will meet in Charlottesville on June 1-3 to hold the sixth and final workshop for its 2011 class of institute fellows. The session marks graduation of this year's class and concludes the 11th year of the institute's leadership development program.

Over a three-day period, the institute fellows will meet at the Charlottesville Courtyard Marriott, the Virginia Department of Forestry and Ivy Creek Natural Area to discuss important environmental issues and leadership principles. This session highlights a series of panel discussions on natural resource topics, including climate change science and societal beliefs about its conclusions, what people of different religions say about how their faith should guide individual and societal responsibility toward the natural world, and conversations between recognized Virginia natural resource leaders about successful leadership skills, habits, strategies and styles.

In addition, during the session, the University of Virginia's Institute for Environmental Negotiation will confer this year's Gerald P. McCarthy Award for Leadership in Environmental Conflict Resolution to Faye Crawford Cooper of Staunton for her collaborative efforts in land conservation. The institute gives the annual award to an individual who demonstrates leadership in the effort to preserve and protect the commonwealth's environment; supports collaborative problem solving through actions, contributions and/or educational programs; and who is a role model to others for the resolution of environmental issues.
Steve Talley, institute program manager, said, "VNRLI and its parent organization at the University of Virginia, the Institute for Environmental Negotiation, examines the nature of the conflict that characteristically accompanies community dialogue and decision-making concerning environmental issues, how communities confront that conflict and how they arrive at sustainable solutions. The institute faculty teaches ways natural resource managers can help Virginia communities find consensus on these often contentious issues. Our curriculum emphasizes collaborative problem-solving and collegial dialogue between people who have different perspectives. We use interactive exercises, mini-lectures and panel discussions to develop these themes."

This year's Virginia Natural Resources Leadership Institute class includes members from business; local, state and federal government; and non-profit organizations.

More than 250 fellows have graduated from the institute. In 2009, Virginia's General Assembly commended the institute with a special resolution for its "outstanding efforts to improve the way Virginians make environmental decisions" and its "many efforts to help build consensus and facilitate good environmental policy and leadership for the commonwealth."

The institute is a partnership of the U.Va.'s Institute for Environmental Negotiation, Virginia Cooperative Extension, the Virginia Department of Forestry and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.

The Dominion Foundation supports the institute with a grant to develop collaborative decision-making for protecting Virginia's environment and natural resources. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service's Urban and Community Forestry Grant Program, the George Beals Conservation Leadership Fund of the Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts Educational Foundation, the Ballyshannon Fund, Merck & Co., Inc. and individual Virginia Natural Resources Leadership Institute alumni also support the institute.
For information, visit the Virginia Natural Resources Leadership Institute website, or contact Steve Talley at 434-924-6569.


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